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Submission + - Aaron Swartz commits suicide (mit.edu)

maijc writes: Computer activist Aaron H. Swartz committed suicide in New York City yesterday, Jan. 11, according to his uncle, Michael Wolf; Swartz, 26, was indicted in July 2011 by a federal grand jury for allegedly mass downloading documents from the JSTOR online journal archive with the intent to distribute them. He is best know for co-authoring the now widely-used RSS 1.0 specification at age 14 and was one of the three co-owners of the site Reddit.
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Submission + - Co-Founder of Reddit, Aaron Swartz commits suicide (blogspot.com) 1

quantr writes: ""Swartz was indicted in July 2011 by a federal grand jury for allegedly mass downloading documents from the JSTOR online journal archive with the intent to distribute them. He subsequently moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he then worked for Avaaz Foundation, a nonprofit “global web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere.” Swartz appeared in court on Sept. 24, 2012 and pleaded not guilty.

The accomplished Swartz co-authored the now widely-used RSS 1.0 specification at age 14, was one of the three co-owners of the popular social news site Reddit, and completed a fellowship at Harvard’s Ethics Center Lab on Institutional Corruption. In 2010, he founded DemandProgress.org, a “campaign against the Internet censorship bills SOPA/PIPA.”""

Comment Re:Makes sense to me (Score 1) 174

Bugger, I responded to the wrong person, sorry about that.

Medication isn't identical with psychiatric treatment, I think would sum up my objection here. Although I suppose there's no particular argument here, I'm not suggesting (nor was it suggested in my lectures), that people who aren't severely depressed should be taking SSRIs, or anything else for that matter. With hindsight I can see that my initial remark to AC #1 was rather flippant in that respect, which was silly of me.

Besides, the consensus as I knew it was over a decade ago - you'd kinda hope it had changed by now!

Comment Re:Makes sense to me (Score 1) 174

I think that's perhaps a rather pessimistic view! Any intervention to the brain, chemical or physical, should not be taken lightly, and those available are not exactly precision tools. The full impacts of SSRIs and other anti-depressants vary substantially between them, not to mention between people and I think that very few people (who aren't idiots, or dubiously motivated) would suggest that they are anything other than a short term, emergency intervention to be used to get people to a place where they can engage in more useful and lasting treatments.

If you can engage without some chemical assistance, then you should be doing that, not getting medicated. (I'm aware that I was a bit casual in my original comment in suggesting AC #1 get medicated.)
(As a side note, I'm more interesting in the potential for ketamine and MDMA as replacements for the role our current anti-depressants play - some of the results in that ballpark have been really quite interesting, but regrettably the legal situation makes it hard to expand that further.)
And one last thing - keeping it a secret seems counter productive, it certainly was for me. (Not to mention, the more people hide mental illness, the more foreign it is and the more people feel they need to hide it.)

I've rambled on again.. I wish you the best of luck, and that sometime you look back and feel you were worth rebuilding!

Comment Re:Makes sense to me (Score 1) 174

I'm sure your anecdotal experience trumps mine, is it a particularly useful (or even interesting) dialogue to have though?
I'm not a psychologist, and I would assume my undergraduate courses on abnormal psychology whatnot are out of date (I'd hope so, otherwise progress has been very slow). My criticism of your 'psychiatric treatment for depression is a con bunk' remark relates only to what seems rather an overgeneralisation in saying that since a particular psychiatric treatment didn't work in your case, all psychiatric treatment for that condition doesn't work.

Would it be fair to assume that you're an American (I'm guessing based on the medications)? My understanding is that there's a very different attitude to prescription and diagnosis (particularly of mental illness) in the US, which I'm certainly not familiar with beyond what I read about in the news (generally, that there's massive overmedication).

In any case, perhaps I have offended you, (which really wasn't my intention) in which case I apologise!

Comment Re:Makes sense to me (Score 2) 174

I was at the time doing my degree in psychology, the consensus (at least here in the UK), was very clear - SSRIs can be very effective, but only in combination with counselling or something similar. Unfortunately, they don't get used like that. Counselling, and even relatively 'quick fix' type therapies like CBT are staggeringly expensive and time consuming vs. pills. Sadly this means the prescription is the solution option tends to win out.

I do think there's a lot of debate to be had about the efficaciousness of SSRIs in general, they are widely misused and you're quite right to point out that in a lot of cases they really won't help. I also think that the statistical methodology used by pharma to demonstrate their drugs work is misleading at best, and probably outright deceptive (Ben Goldacre has much to say on this subject). However! In this context, I can only offer my anecdotal experience. The greatest benefit to my mental health was certainly not the medication, but the other things I mentioned.
I would take issue with your last statement though - I don't think your assertion is logically sound.

Comment Re:Makes sense to me (Score 5, Insightful) 174

Good for you!
I was extremely leery of anti-depressants, but I suspect without them I would in fact be dead. They made me feel a whole other kind of awful (shakes, nausea, no libido, etc. ad nauseam), but did get me to a point where I could actively work on healing myself, and changing my life to protect me in future. I was able to cope without them after not so long - they should in almost all cases be used like a splint for the brain, and discarded when some semblance of normal neurochemistry is restored.

Comment Re:Makes sense to me (Score 5, Insightful) 174

Hey, AC - go get help, get medicated and use the time you are medicated to do CBT (because the combination of the two has a good success rate), start jogging (because annoyingly, this too has a good success rate), eat more healthily (specific benefits of this are, I believe, a bit more contentious, but cooking properly is a great and positive activity irregardless), and while you're at it, identify what in your life and yourself you need to change to protect yourself from being depressed. Then use that to actually make the changes - this process took me about five years, but became progressively more worth it and easier. There's no magic bullet, it is hard work, and if you are susceptible to depression you probably need to keep at it in a small way forever.
This doesn't work for everybody (some people do seem to just have bad chemistry), and really isn't easy, but it did for me.

Perhaps the hardest bit is actually getting help in the first place, it took me months and the damage to my life was pretty extensive. Then one day I had a breakdown and sat weeping on my kitchen floor, because I couldn't cope with choosing between frozen pies for dinner and thought "Shit, I can't fix this by myself.". A mere three weeks later I'd actually gone to one of the several doctor's appointments I made.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Don't spam your brain - do something about the sadness and pain.

Comment Makes sense to me (Score 5, Insightful) 174

So, with the big flashing red caveat that this is entirely anecdotal and drawn from personal experience, I recall 'spamming' my senses with as many inputs as possible (lying in bed simultaneously listening to music, a film on, reading a book, eating seriously high fat/salt/sugar foodstuffs, etc.) quite a lot while I was in the deeper throes of reasonably severe depression. Retrospectively it seems like an attempt to blot out as much of reality as I could, and drown out the sound of my own thoughts.
Funny things, brains.

Comment Runaway processes (Score 1) 274

Ok, so disregarding TFA, on the basis that the Mail is full of bollocks..

This is actually an interesting thing to do - essentially what they're looking at here is runaway processes. We already have an immediate and pressing one, which they're looking at in the form of climate change. Runaway AI is obviously *not* a problem now, or in the forseeable future, but what is potentially interesting is commonalities between different runaway processes, the ability to identify that something is about to become one, mechanisms to disrupt that and so on. There's a common thread here with examining conditions under which systems destabilise - Reynold's numbers for things beyond waterflow in pipes, which is definitely an important thing to be thinking about if you're looking at the long-term survival of humanity (let's just assume that this is a good thing..).

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